Business Monitor International (BMI) said in a report on the Lebanese insurance market that it expected significant growth in the life insurance segment over the period 2011-2015.
The report was published by Bank Audi’s Lebanon Weekly Monitor.
As is the case in most Middle Eastern markets, BMI sees double-digit annual growth in Lebanon through the 2011-15 forecast period.
The report estimated that total premiums in Lebanon amounted to $1.259 billion in 2010. This includes non-life premiums of $859.7 million and life premiums of $399.3 million.
In 2015, the corresponding figures should be $2.088.6 billion, $1.397.2 billion and $691.4 million.
In terms of the key drivers, BMI expects non-life penetration to remain unchanged from 2.40 percent of GDP through to 2015.
Life density should increase from $95.28 per capita to $155.63 per capita.
The study indicated that in absolute terms, the Lebanese insurance market is still considered small. Non-life insurance is underdeveloped in terms of penetration (premiums as a percentage of GDP), and life premiums per capita are small relative to global benchmarks, despite being considerably higher than in most countries in the region.
BMI indicated that continued development especially in non-life insurance has ensured that the global financial crisis of late 2008 has had little impact.
The study noted that the relatively small size of the market in Lebanon indicates that it has strong growth potential, especially that the country is open to foreign insurers.
Certain local businesses, like MedGulf and Arabia Insurance, have made progress in building a footprint across the Middle East, BMI said.
This is deemed fairly important, especially when comparing the performance of such businesses to regional peers. Still, by world standards, these companies may not yet have achieved economies of scale, according to BMI.